2016 in Review : 90 to 81

So we’ve been through the bottom ten films of the year, but there were plenty of other films that featured in that list at one point or another during the year. In this list I look at the the films that just managed to avoid being in my bottom ten, and although one or two were never really in any true danger this year, in any other year a few of them could have been a candidate for worst film of the year.

In this list we have a film based on a computer game, the same actress appearing twice, a film by a director that featured in my top ten last year, a Bollywood rip off of a nineties Hollywood film, and a sequel that was twenty years in the making, but most definitely was not worth the wait.

90) Warcraftlarge_large_ckrtpz6fz35l5ybjqvklwzzslo7

Cast : Travis Fimmel, Paula Patton, Ben Foster, Toby Kebbell, Ben Schnetzer, Dominic Cooper and Daniel Wu

Plot : The race of Orcs has finished conquering their latest world and now need a new one in order to survive, although leader Gul’dan’s (Wu) plans are to simply use it for his own greed and desire for long life. Amongst his soldiers is Durotan (Kebbell), possibly the only orc who thinks that they should find a permanent home following the destruction of their own, rather than destroy everything that they can. Gul’dan opens a portal to the kingdom of Azeroth.

They lay siege to several settlements, winning comfortably, and this alerts Anduin (Fimmel), the kingdom’s military commander. He must work with wizard Medivh (Foster), but he does not feel the same need for war, so he instead must do with Khadgar (Schnetzer), a young mage that left his intended path to replace Medivh.

Why in this position? : You can tell a film is bad when even the normally reliable Ben Foster is lacklustre. There is a single person that will come out of this film with any form of credit, and it is a shame because the world that Warcraft is set in is one of the more unique in video gaming, and one that could have had a very strong film franchise had it been better. Just for clarification, I have never personally played any of the Warcraft, I’m simply going on what I have read there.

The story just feels so generic and unoriginal. It almost looks like they’ve found a list of scenes deleted from the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy and built around them as there is very little here to shout about. Don’t get me wrong, there are much worse films than this that came out this year, but not many. “Warcraft” only escaped the bottom ten by the skin of the orcs teeth it’s build on, and it was only in late November that I saw a tenth film that was worse than it.

It’s not particularly fun, it’s not well acted and it feels like it drags very badly. The special effects aren’t that good, looking very cartoonish, and it wouldn’t surprise me at all if the ENTIRE film was filmed with a green screen, even those that are simply set in a normal room.

 

89) The Forestthe_forest_poster

Cast : Natalie Dormer, Taylor Kinney and Yukiyoshi Ozawa

Plot : Sara (Dormer) receives a call from the police in Japan as they witnessed her twin sister enter the Aokigahara Forest, and she hasn’t been seen since. This is made even more worrying by the fact that the forest has a high rate of suicides. She decides to travel to Japan and there she meets Aiden (Kinney), a reporter. He says that he is happy to go into the woods with her and a guide named Michi (Ozawa).

They soon enter the forest, but the journey has several ghosts haunting it and they all tell Sara not to trust Aiden. This isn’t helped by the fact that she finds pictures of Jess on his phone. In a forest where you’re being haunted by ghosts, the last thing you need is someone who might be trying to kill you.

Why in this position? : I’ll give one thing to “The Forest”, there are no jump scares. something that is unwelcome commonplace in horror films. Infact, I’ll go further than that by saying that there are no scares, period. “The Forest” spent most of the year in my Bottom 10, it was just dull. It tried to do something relatively new and shoot a unique premise, but it just comes out as feeling forced.

The only aspect I liked was the ending and the fate of Sara, but even that’s not enough to save what is ultimately an awful horror film. The very fact that the rating, at the time of writing, is only 4.8/10 on IMDB should tell you all that you need to know.

I don’t even know where to continue with this one so I’m just going to leave it here. Avoid.

 

88) Bad Neighbours 2ho00002981

Cast : Seth Rogen, Rose Bryne, Chloe Grace Moretz and Zac Efron

Plot : Mac (Rogen) and Kelly (Bryne) have successfully lived through the frat house that was in the first film and are now planning to sell their house, but they are told that the new buyers have 30 days in which they can cancel the purchase with any reasonable concerns. Despite thinking this will be a breeze, little do they know that Shelby (Moretz), a local student, is buying the house next door with the intentions of starting her own sorority with a few other people who got rejected by the established ones.

The two sides are civil at first, but it isn’t long before a misunderstanding means that they are at war, planning pranks and tricks on each other, with both have everything to lose if it goes wrong.

Why in this position? : You know what I realised when writing this list? I really like Chloe Grace Moretz, and I think she has a big future, but she rarely puts out a good film. This isn’t the only time that she’ll appear on this countdown, but even though neither of her films feature in the bottom ten this year, neither of her films were very good.

Don’t get me wrong, she isn’t awful in this film, not by any stretch, but I think the issue with “Bad Neighbours 2”, other than being a sequel that wasn’t needed for a film that wasn’t that good in the first place, is that it’s just very poor in terms of plot, development and acting. It’s predictable nature makes it hard to really get involved in the story, or even enjoy it.

Zac Efron came very close to appearing in the bottom ten twice, and Rose Byrne is such a boring actress that it’s hard to get behind her, or indeed anything she does. Seth Rogen is ok, but that’s the nicest thing I can say about his performance.

 

87) Fanfan-first-look

Cast : Shah Rukh Khan, Waluscha de Sousa, Sayani Gupta and Shriya Pilgaonkar

Plot : Gaurav (Khan) is an internet cafe owner that is a huge fan of actor Aryan Khanna (also Khan). He enters the local talent show every year and wins convincingly, largely due to his resemblance to his hero. One day Gaurav becomes aware that a younger actor is starting to get into Aryan’s spotlight, and so he decides to take matters into his own hands, kidnapping and torturing him.

Aryan finds out about this but doesn’t want police action, he does however make it clear to Gaurav that whilst he appreciates him as a fan, he wants nothing to do with him. This sends Gaurav into a deep depression, which he eventually comes out of with the decision to ruin Aryan’s life by following him to London, pretending to be him and acting like a bit of a dick. How long before the two come to an inevitable conclusion?

Why in this position? : “Fan” was the first, and to date last, Bollywood film that I ever watched at the cinema, or in general, but I can’t say that I was impressed with this effort as it is a blatant rip off of the 1996 Robert De Niro/Wesley Snipes effort of the same name. Both films have near enough the same plot, a fan of a famous person gets jealous when that person is overshadowed, takes it upon themselves to resolve the matter, only to make an enemy of that famous person. There are more similarities but I’m not going to list them here.

“Fan” is nearly three hours long, as are a lot of Bollywood films, and it definitely feels like it. This film drags very badly, and to make comparisons this is one of two films that I watched this calendar year that came close to a three hour run time, and yet the other features in my top twenty because it is well built, with good characters and a plot that is actually original. “Fan” is not particularly interesting, the acting is questionable and the only merciful part is that there is only one dance scene, that despite big dance numerous being a stereotype of Bollywood films.

I’m sure that there are better Bollywood films out there, so I don’t intend on this being my last one, but it surely can’t get worse than this?

 

86) The Fifth Waveonesheet

Cast : Chloe Grace Moretz, Nick Robinson, Alex Roe, Ron Livingston, Maggie Siff and Liev Schreiber.

Plot : One day a collection of city-sized ships circle the Earth and launch an EMP, knocking out all of the electronics on the planet. They then cause massive earthquakes and tsunamis, all before managing to weaponise avian flu.

This all leaves Cassie (Moretz) pretty much on her own as she searches for her brother Evan (Roe) after he is taken to a military camp in which children are used to hunt the aliens as they’re apparently immune from the affects caused by the aliens. The kids soon realise that instead of going to kill aliens, they’ve been tricked into killing all remaining humans, and that the commanders at the base, lead by Colonel Vosch (Schrieber), are the next wave of attack.

Can Cassie find her brother in time?

Why in this position? : Oh Chloe Grace Moretz, when will you put out a good movie? Appearing just two entries back, it’s definitely not been a good year for the young actress in terms of films. She’s had a stinker.

“The Fifth Wave” is one of the least engaging films of the year. It is completely forgettable. I couldn’t tell you a single thing about this film, other than there is one cool scene in which you find out that the kids are tricked into thinking each other are aliens. That’s pretty much the only decent part of an otherwise meandering use of your time.

I can’t even motivate myself to write more than three paragraphs about it, and I even had to look up the plot on Wikipedia. That’s how forgettable it is.

 

85) I, Daniel Blakeidanielblake-poster

Cast : Dave Johns and Hayley Squires

Plot : Daniel (Johns) recently had a heart attack and has been told by his doctors that he can’t go back to work yet, but the problem is that his benefits have been stopped because the government declares him fit to work. He applies for jobs in the knowledge that he can’t fulfil them, and this causes numerous issues.

On one visit to the job centre he sees Katie (Squires) and her kids complain about money and how people in there aren’t trying to help her. They befriend each other and Daniel lends some of his last money to her so that she can eat and feed her kids, but he becomes mortified when she becomes a prostitute, giving up on his mission. It isn’t long though before Daniel’s appeal is given a date, but will he survive that long?

Why in this position? : It’s hard to really sympathise with Daniel on some levels because he is a bit of a dickhead to everyone. He refuses to follow what are simple rules, and yet he questions why the bad things happen to him. For example, he is told that he needs to log proof that he has applied to jobs for at least 35 hours a week, but he doesn’t log the proof and yet it’s not his fault. The very opening scene is his getting exceptionally stroppy over the phone with someone because he hasn’t filled in a form.

Don’t get me wrong, I do like the element of an older gentleman struggling to adapt to the modern world, but he is just an arse about it.

I was really wanting this film to be good, but it paints a very, very false picture of people who work in job centres. Yes, you’re going to get a few arseholes here and there, but “I, Daniel Blake” basically tries to tell you that every single one of them, barring one single person, is an absolute monster, whereas from personal experience I can confirm that that is definitely not the case.

 

84) Cafe Societycafe-society

Cast : Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart, Steve Carell, Blake Lively and Corey Stoll

Plot : Bobby (Eisenberg) moves to Hollywood to make a name for himself, quickly getting a job at his uncle Phil’s (Carell) agency. Phil orders his assistant Veronica (Stewart) to show Bobby around, and the two quickly form a bond. Bobby starts viewing her as more than a friend, but he doesn’t know that she is actually dating fill.

Eventually Veronica does tell Bobby, who goes onto start a night club with his brother, Ben (Stoll), but the relationship is very edgy due to the latter’s gang mentality, but Bobby ignores it as he meets and eventually marries another woman called Veronica (Lively), but which one is truly in Bobby’s thoughts?

Why in this position? : Towards the end of September I decided that I would try and get to 100 films for the year, and at the time I was in the mid sixties, so when I went home for my mother’s birthday, I decided to fill a space with “Café Society”, and instantly after I watched it I was wishing that I hadn’t bothered.

I gave it a chance because it was by Woody Allen, who featured in my Top Ten last year with “Irrational Man”, but unlike that, this was definitely a case of style over substance. “Café Society” definitely looks great in terms of visuals, and the locations and cinematography are both brilliant, but the acting isn’t great (what else would you expect from the two central “stars” in this movie) and there is very little to keep you interested.

It wasn’t until the very end though when I realised just what a waste of time this film was. The film just kind of ends, it has no real resolution to any story and is just kind of there. There’s nothing more to it. The film is so forgettable that unlike the aforementioned “Irrational Man”, I have no interest whatsoever in watching this again.

The most disappointing part of this is that it is made by Woody Allen, who’s “Irrational Man” featured in my Top Ten last year, but this was such a poor follow up.

 

83) The Girl on the Traingirlonthetrain_poster_web

Cast : Emily Blunt, Haley Bennett, Rebecca Ferguson, Luke Evans and Justin Theroux

Plot : Rachel (Blunt) is an alcoholic woman that takes the train to New York every day, even though she doesn’t have a job there One of the reasons that she does this is that she has developed an obsession with a family that are often on their balcony that can that be seen from the train. One day she notices the woman, Megan (Bennett), having an affair, all before disappearing.

Not knowing how to disconnect, Rachel starts snooping around that house, befriending the husband, Scott (Evans), but her presence draws attention from the neighbours, or more specifically Rachel’s ex-husband Tom (Theroux) and his new wife, Anna (Ferguson). As time goes out and Megan is still nowhere to be seen, Rachel finds herself becoming suspect number one.

Why in this position? : If I was to rank every single film in terms of how engaging it was on every single level, then “GOTT” would be easily at the very bottom of the list. It is diabolically boring. The acting is absolutely terrible from all concerned, especially Luke Evans. To sum up Luke Evans’ acting, his wife has gone missing and yet he portrays the character in such a way that it makes you wonder if he’s even that concerned.

When I was in the screen watching “GOTT” I found myself slumped down out of pure and utter boredom, and it is literally only because of one thing that I didn’t consider it for lower than this.

There is one partially interesting aspect to this film, the only reason that I’m keeping it out of the bottom ten, and that is that unlike other films of a similar nature, you’re discovering the new evidence at the same time as the characters. It’s basically a large puzzle, and that aspect I kind of like.

 

82) Adult Life Skillso9uwc79i

Cast : Jodie Whittaker, Lorraine Ashbourne, Brett Goldstein and Rachel Deering

Plot : Anna lives in her mother’s garden shed and is in the middle of a mid-life crisis following the death of her brother, all at the age of 29. She works at a local lake activity centre, but despite enjoying the job, she sees it as rather meaningless. She does have a suitor in the form of Brendan (Goldstein), but other than that she is largely luckless in love.

As time goes on she is given an ultimatum by her mother to get her life sorted out, or be cut off entirely and chucked out of the shed.

Why in this position? : At one point this entered my bottom ten because it was just so frustratingly one-dimensional that I actually almost walked out of the cinema angry, which would have made me even more angry as “Adult Life Skills” was one of the few films I had to pay for this year as it was at an independent cinema.

In a year where I saw a large variety of films, this was probably the film with the least amount of variety. It was so one-track-minded that it become tedious to watch and I actually started to really dislike the film as there is no character development, the setting is remarkably uninspiring and not a single person in the film actually looks like they’re trying.

This is basically the equivalent of a crap student film that somehow fluked it’s way into the cinema.

 

81) Independence Day : Resurgencephhgpokxwefnli_1_l

Cast : Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman, Liam Hemsworth, Jessie Usher, Maika Monroe, Sela Ward and William Fichtner

Plot : It’s been twenty years since Earth was invaded by aliens, only for the human race to defeat them within three days. Since then Earth has used the alien technologies to enhance their own, but little do they know that the aliens are coming back, and not only are they coming back, but they are in a ship that will cover the entire top third of the Earth.

Easily destroying Earth’s moon base, the aliens make their way to Earth and settle their exceptionally large ship in the northern hemisphere. It’s up to Jake (Hemsworth), David (Goldblum) and a small handful of others to come up with a plan to stop the aliens in their mission to get the Earth’s molten core, something that would destroy all life on the planet.

Why in this position? : If you were going to compile a list of worst sequels during 2016 then there is a chance that “Independence Day Resurgence” would feature top of your list. It is everything that is wrong with sequels and that is the belief that bigger is better, no, better is better.

There isn’t a single aspect to this film that is better than the 1996 original, it’s just non-sensical and yet again seems obsessed with telling the story only from the American perspective. Some countries would have been completely destroyed by those claw things that the aliens use to grip onto the planet, but the film makes it seem like the only places that you should care about are New York and the other major American cities.

The film started out with what could have been a potentially interesting conflict between Dylan and Jake just resolved with minimal effort, and the acting from the two actors concerned was not good, and that’s the story throughout. Infact, this film could have been pretty much the same without Jake, it’s supposed main character.

Infact, the only reason that this doesn’t appear in my Bottom 10 can be summed up in two words, Jeff Goldblum. Jeff has been one of my favourite actors throughout my life and it’s great to see that he has become relevant again in recent years, but even he can’t save this film from anything other than barely escaping my bottom ten. Don’t get me wrong, Bill Pullman and Brent Spiner are both fun in their roles, but neither come close to Goldblum.

 

So that’s 90 to 81, tomorrow features arguably the most hyped film of the year, the Coen brothers, several horror films, and a film that whilst not awful, can’t be taken seriously because it is ultimately about a mop.

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